Skip to main content

Full text of "Proceedings of Commencement"

See other formats


riNn/n?siTy or lu wo^^ » mi»*^v 



HOBART COuMbi Bi9i?LETINS 



Vol. XIII 



JULY I9I5 



No. 4 



Prnr^^Jitngfi of ffiommrnr^mettt 




Published by Hobart College, Geneva, N. Y. Issued quarterly. 

Entered October 28, 1902, at Geneva, N. Y., as second-class 

matter, under Act of Congress of July 16, 1894. 



r»NrvFRSfT>' OF fU 'f'^»^ » tw»*fv 

JUL 3 1915 

PROCEEDINGS OF COMMENCEMENT 

The ninetieth Commencement of Hobart College and 
the fourth of William Smith took place during the week 
of June thirteenth. On Sunday morning the William 
Smith Baccalaureate sermon was delivered in the First 
Presbyterian Church by President Kerr Duncan MacMil- 
lan, S.T.D., of Wells College. In the evening Reverend 
Karl Reiland, D.D., Rector of St. George's Church, 
New York City, preached in Trinity Church before the 
Hobart graduating class. 

On Monday morning the William Smith graduating 
class held their Class Day exercises in the grove. At this 
time the class announced their gift to the College, a stone 
bench. In the evening Shakespeare's ''Midsummer 
Night's Dream" was delightfully presented in the natural 
amphitheatre behind Blackwell House under ideal 
weather conditions. 

Tuesday morning was marked by the most interesting 
Class Day program which a Hobart graduating class has 
given in many years. Two special features of these 
exercises were a brief address by Professor Eaton and the 
presentation by the class to the college of a cup which 
is to be given each year to the College Fraternity or 
Club maintaining the highest scholarship for the year. 
The cup is to become the permanent property of any 
Fraternity winning it for three successive years. 

Tuesday was also Commencement Day for William 
Smith College. On account of threatening weather the 
alumnae luncheon was served indoors instead of on the 
lawn in front of Miller House. There was, however, no 
rain to interfere with the procession from Miller House 



4 HoBART College 

to Coxe Hall where the graduating exercises were held. 
The address to the graduating class was delivered by 
Mrs. Henry Fairfield Burton of Rochester whose subject 
was ''Service — The Comer Stone of Education." After 
the address Miss Helen Brewster, president of the Senior 
Class presented to Dean Turk a silver loving cup in token 
of the esteem and affection in which he is held by all the 
students who have been associated with him during the 
seven years of his administration. 

In the evening the Senior Ball was held in Williams Hall. 
A noteworthy feature of the William Smith Commence- 
ment was the presence of a large proportion of the 
alumnae of the college. 

Wednesday was Alumni Day for Hobart College. 
Many alumni were present at the Dean's reception in 
the afternoon and at an excellent Glee Club concert in 
the gymnasium in the evening. After the concert the 
center of attraction was the Alumni Smoker in Coxe Hall, 
where Frank Warren, '96, kept things moving with 
his usual energy and enthusiasm. It was announced 
at the Smoker that Professor Charles D. Vail, '59, wished 
to be relieved of his duties as Recording Secretary. He 
was thereupon unanimously elected to the new office 
of Consulting Secretary. In this position his valuable 
experience gained by many years of service will be avail- 
able for the new Recording Secretary, G. D. Whedon, 
'08. 

The Commencement exercises were held for the first 
time in the college gymnasium. The many expressions 
of a]j])roval and satisfaction at the change from the 
alumni and friends would indicate that this custom will 
be continued in the future. The Latin Salutatory was 
delivered by Robert Brownell Huff of Waterloo, N. Y. 



Proceedings of Commencement 5 

The Phi Beta Kappa orator was Professor Joseph French 
Johnson, D.C.S., Dean of the School of Commerce, 
New York University. His masterly address, which made 
an unusual appeal to the entire audience, is printed in full 
in this Bulletin. 

President Powell announced the honors and prizes for 
the year and conferred the degrees in course upon the 
twenty-two members of the graduating class. 

The candidates for honorary degrees were presented 
by Professor Turk as follows: 

Mr. President: 

For the degree of Doctor of Hiimane Letters I present 
to you John Copeland Kirtland, A.B., A.M., Hobart, 
of the Class of 1890; graduate student in Leland Stan- 
ford from 1892 to 1896. Mr. Kirtland has taught as 
well as studied in Hobart with success, but for many 
years he has been professor of Latin at Phillips Academy, 
Exeter. In the quarter century that has elapsed since 
his graduation he has, as teacher and editor of classical 
texts, become one of the pillars of secondary school 
instruction. His Alma Mater is happy in the privilege 
of marking this anniversary by conferring upon a sound 
and modest scholar a distinction that could hardly be 
more accurately applied. 

For the degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology I present 
to you the Reverend Raymond Colyer Knox, A.B., 
Chaplain of Coliimbia University. Mr. Knox attained 
his distinguished position at a comparatively early age. 
He is a good preacher and a good scholar. It is, how- 
ever, enough to say, in happy summary, that he is a 
successful college chaplain. Greater praise, and perhaps 
greater love, hath no man than this. 



6 HoBART College 

For the degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology I have 
the privilege of presenting the Right Reverend Hiram 
Richard Hiilse, D.D., the recently chosen Bishop of Cuba. 
After extensive studies in theology and sociolog3^ Dr. 
Hulse had a long record of estimable service as examining 
chaplain and Archdeacon in the Diocese of New York. 
Bishop Hulse, a scholar as well as an administrator, 
vnll understand the desire of this college to associate 
itself with his new work: the business of colleges as well 
as churches is salvation, and we also would be accounted 
artisans of that great craft. 

For the degree of Doctor of Laws I have the honor to 
present Joseph French Johnson, A.B. Harvard, D.C.S. 
Union University, Dean of the School of Commerce of 
New York University. Dr. Johnson is a writer and 
lecturer of great reputation ; the head of a large and most 
flourishing school which he himself built up, and the 
father of many similar institutions at home and abroad. 
The study of commerce within college walls should be of 
benefit to academic as well as to business life — a union of 
theory and practice from which excellence as well as 
success may proceed. With this belief Hobart College 
now signalizes a distinction already won. 

The degree of LL.D. was conferred on Reverend Karl 
Reiland, D.D., Rector of St. George's Church, New 
York City. 

The auditorium in Coxe Hall was well filled for the 
alumni dinner which followed the Commencement 
exercises. Mr. F. A. Warren, '96, President of the 
Associate Alumni, presided. Among those who spoke 
were Dean Johnson, the Commencement orator, and the 
Reverend R. C. Knox, Chaplain of Columbia University. 



Proceedings of Commencement 7 

Announcement was made of the gift to the College 
of a portrait of Dr. James G. Mumford whose recent 
death removed from the Board of Trustees a beloved and 
honored member. 

Mr. P. N. Nicholas, secretary of the Board of Trustees, 
presented a loving cup in the name of the Board to the 
College Treasurer, Mr. D. J. VanAuken. Mr. Nicholas 
and later President Powell emphasized the remarkable 
service which Mr. VanAuken has rendered to Hobart 
College, as shown particularly in the uniformly high grade 
of all the college investments, and the fact that at no 
time in the past ten years has the college had a deficit. 

The events of the year closed with the reception given 
by President and Mrs. Powell at the President's House, 
followed by the Senior Ball in Williams Hall. 



PHI BETA KAPPA ORATION 

College Products and By-Products 

June 17, 1915 

By Dean Joseph French Johnson, D.C.S. 

New York University School of Commerce 

Just before leaving Rugby, Tom Brown tells his master 
that he wants to get to work in the world and not to 
"dawdle aw^ay three years at Oxford." 

There are plenty of people in this country who are 
convinced that young men dawdle away four years in 
the American college, and that the country would be 
better off, and the young men too, if instead of going to 
college they would learn a trade or a profession or go into 
business. 

For twenty years I have devoted my thought and 
energ>% not to the college, but to a new kind of university 
school, one not strictly technical nor professional, yet 
having as its purpose the preparation of young men for 
business careers. It is called a school of commerce, and 
finds its justification in the contention that business 
phenomena obey scientific laws quite as really and inevit- 
ably as do phenomena which are classed as physical or 
natural or physiological. If you admit the contention, 
then you must admit that the modern business man, if he 
is not to be an empiricist like the doctors and bridge 
builders and farmers of fifty years ago, should be pre- 
pared for his work by scientific training. By no other 
road can society hope to travel toward the economic 
millennium, that state in which there will be no poverty, 
no need fcjr charity, no fear of want, no panics, no un- 
cmjjloyment, and perhaps no vice nor crime. 



Phi Beta Kappa Oration 9 

But this is not my theme. I mention the character 
of the work which has absorbed me for nearly a quarter 
of a century merely to make it clear that I cannot pose 
as the lawful or competent champion of the college. My 
college life ended thirty-seven years ago, and since then, 
much as I loved it, I have thought very little about it. 
It has been to rae merely a precious memory. So what 
I say about the college and the college man must be 
regarded as the views of a friendly Philistine, who has 
very little intimate first-hand knowledge of his subject. 

In all the professions, we find college men at the top. 
That is not to be wondered at, for it can be easily ex- 
plained. But we find them at the top in the business 
world also, and that is a fact not explained by reasons 
that are obvious. The rules of logic will not permit 
us to claim credit for the college and to point to the 
worldly success of college graduates as evidence that 
college education is really worth while. It is quite 
conceivable that these collegians would have earned the 
same success, the same position in the world, if they had 
never gone to college; for it is quite possible that the 
college draws to itself, in the main, only exceptional young 
men, young men of vision, of ideals, of ambition. That 
being the case, and I think it is, we cannot claim that 
college men get on in the world because of what the 
coUege has done for them, but rather that they get on 
in the world because they p;;e the kind of young men 
whom the college appeals to, and who cannot be spoiled 
even though they appear to the critical barbarian to have 
dawdled away four of the best years of their lives. 

But I am not interested today in whether or no a col- 
lege man can earn a living or make money for himself 
in the professions. My therae concerns itself with the 



10 Hob ART College 

larger question : What can the college man do for society ? 
It is a well known fact that colleges do not pay expenses. 
The college and university deficit is almost the only 
academic question concerning which the public has 
positive and definite information, for the public in one 
way or another is called on to make it up. Now, why is 
society willing to help young men and young women to 
get a college education? Only about two per cent of 
oiir young men and women go to college, and the cost 
to society of this comparatively small number amounts 
to several hundred million dollars, in addition to the 
tuition fees paid by the students. 

So here is a debt the college man owes to society. 
Can he repay it ? He certainly will not pay it if he devotes 
his life exclusively to money-making, no matter what 
his vocation may be. 

Society has some awfully hard problems to solve and 
is very much worried over them. If it could test the 
fitness of a young college man to serve it by giving him 
a written examination, I think the paper would contain 
some such questions as these : 

(i) Is it conceivable that poverty might be abolished? 
If so, how would you go about it ? 

(2) What is the fundamental cause of war between 
civilized nations? What policy should the world adopt 
in order that war shall be impossible? 

(3) Ought the Government to take possession of the 
railroads in the United States ? 

(4) Prove that the ideals and methods of those labor 
reformers who advocate violence and sabotage are op- 
posed to j)rogress and must in the end injure the very 
class which they are intended to help. 



Phi Beta Kappa Oration ii 

(5) Shall the United States prepare to defend itself 
against possible hostile attack, and so greatly increase its 
army and navy ? 

(6) Are the so-called idle rich a blessing or a curse 
to society, and shall the inheritance of large fortunes 
be subjected to greater restrictions and limitations? 
If so, why? 

(7) Should the inmates of our prisons be treated like 
criminals or should they be treated like men? 

(8) If women engage more generally in business and 
in industrial pursuits, will they thereby lessen the wages 
and salaries of men, and should the maximum hours of 
their labor and their minimum wage be fixed by law ? 

(9) Out of what materials might it be possible to build 
a bridge across the chasm that separates capital and 
labor ? 

(10) Since the rate of childbirth is highest among 
the very poor and ignorant, and lowest among the well- 
to-do and educated classes, what grounds have you for 
maintaining an optimistic attitude toward the future 
progress of society? 

Now, I call that a pretty fair examination paper, and 
I want it understood that I do not set it. The questions 
are ten out of a possible hundred or more to which society 
wants enlightening and positive answers. I freely admit 
that I cannot answer those questions, and I do not know 
any professor in whose answers I would have much 
confidence. Of course, we could all make a bluff at the 
answers, but your bluff would not satisfy me and mine 
would not satisfy you. Macaulay, if he were alive, 
might give very fluent and superficially convincing 
answers. A contemporary once said of Macaulay: 
'*I wish I was as sure of anything as Macaulay is of every- 
thing." 



12 HoBART College 

While a lot of people will hold that those questions 
are easy and will have answers all ready for them, I am 
confident that the average college man would throw up 
his hands and say "Not prepared." He will know he 
cannot answer those questions and will not be ashamed to 
say so. That is one reason why I have faith in the college 
man. 

How then is the college man going to be of any use 
in society beyond the mere setting of a good example 
as an honest, tax paying citizen with a tendency to 
encourage his community's interest in libraries and art 
museums ? That is the question I want to answer. 

In the first place, please note that the college man's 
inability to answer those questions indicates a very high 
order of ignorance, for he knows that he cannot answer 
them, and such knowledge, as all philosophers agree, is 
the beginning of wisdom. Ignorance per se is a neutral 
thing and does no harm. It is only active ignorance 
which mistakes itself for knowledge, that is pernicious. 

In the second place, let us consider how it happens 
that the college man knows that he does not know and 
is not ashamed to say so. I can tell you in a sentence. 
It is because the real college man has learned to think. 
He knows what the word * 'cause" means. He knows 
that the chain of cause and effect in the social world, 
in the business world, in the psychological world, is as 
unbreakable as is the law of gravitation or of capillary 
attraction in the physical world. It does not matter 
how he has learned to think, whether by the study of 
philosophy, of physics, of chemistry, of political economy, 
or of syntax. If he is a real college man, and not merely 
a cr^llege "graduate" who got through by cribbing and 
CTamming, he knows that he does not understand a sub- 



Phi Beta Kappa Address 13 

ject until he can trace the relations between causes and 
effects among its phenomena. He knows that a doctor 
cannot be certain about his prescription unless he is 
first certain about the cause of the disease. So he knows 
that he cannot prescribe any remedy for poverty until he 
understands poverty, and he cannot understand it until 
he has in his grasp all the forces and conditions which 
make poverty inevitable. 

So if my view is right, the highest aim of the college is 
understanding. Not so very many years ago the com- 
mon notion was that the college existed for the advance- 
ment of learning, but it is now beginning to be seen that 
mere learning alone cannot justify the social and financial 
cost of the college. Many a learned man has not been of 
the slightest use in this world: I mean from the point 
of view which I am discussing, namely, that he has not 
repaid to society the debt that he incurred while getting 
his college education. Somebody has said of Macaulay 
that he was so learned that he used to spill over and 
stand in the slop. The modern historian illustrates my 
meaning. He is less interested in names and dates 
and details than was Macaulay or Gibbon, but he is 
tremendously more interested in the forces which have 
made history what it is. The genealogy of a king does 
not interest him unless in somxc way it throws light upon 
the rise or decline of that king's people. In other words, 
the goal of history today is the understanding of human 
evolution, and not the accumiulation of verified and 
unverified data with regard to the intrigues of petty 
kings and princes. And it is because the college awakens 
and trains the understanding of its students and makes 
them realize that they must do some hard thinking be- 
fore they can understand, that the college man is equipped 
to go into the world and serve it most efficiently if he will. 



14 Hob ART College 

This will to serve, of course, depends upon the character 
of the college man. Some educators and preachers, 
I know, claim that the highest function of the college is 
to train character and so make its students real men. 
Now character is the finest thing on earth. It is a far 
more beautiful thing than culture, for culture can be 
achieved without character. So is happiness a wonder- 
ful thing and something which all of us desire in our 
possession. Now these three most wonderful things 
are very much alike in one respect, namely, if you pursue 
them they elude you. They are like the 'f raid-cat, 
which runs under a couch when you move toward her with 
the kindliest intentions, but which ten minutes later, 
when you have forgotten her existence, springs into 
your lap and purrs her contentment with life and with 
you. Happiness comes to us as a result of work, of 
service, and it comes when we least expect it. Culture 
is a by-product of intellectual effort, of aesthetic enjoy- 
ment, of reading, and of intercourse with those of higher 
training and finer sensibilities than our own. 

By character we mean the will to endure, the will to 
do that which is disagreeable if we ought to do it, and the 
will not to do that which is agreeable if we ought not to 
do it. This great thing, character, can be earned on the 
football field quite as well as in the lecture hall. In 
fact, I doubt very much if character is in any real sense 
a product of either lectures or sermons. The poor and 
uneducated can achieve it quite as readily and effectively 
as the well-to-do and college trained. The only way a 
college can aid in the development of character among its 
students is by the stern and uncompromising insistence 
upon the performance of all the tasks which it imposes 
on the student. Laxity of college discipline weakens 



Phi Beta Kappa Address 15 

the character of the student body and of the faculty aHke. 
The "easy" professor, who sometimes is popular, espec- 
ially during the baseball or football season, is an enemy 
of character. 

But I return to my thesis. The primary and important 
aim of the college is not character building, nor culture, 
nor the happiness of its students or professors, but the 
development of the power to understand and of the 
knowledge that understanding must precede wise action. 
The country is full of social quack doctors with nostrums 
for all imaginable social diseases and evils. Their active, 
insistent, cocksure ignorance is the third rail against 
which society needs protection, and it is to the college 
man, humbly aware how little he knows, but keenly 
alive to the fact that a problem must be understood 
before it can be solved, that society must look for deliver- 
ance from peril. 

The ideal of the Greeks was beauty, which included 
goodness. The ideal of the Romans was power, which 
included service. May we not say that the ideal of our 
Christian civilization today is understanding, and that 
out of complete understanding shall be born those three 
great realities — Truth, Beauty and Goodness? 



JAMES GREGORY MUMFORD 

Transcript from the minutes of the meeting of the Board of 
Trustees of Hobart College, held in New York City, January 20th, 
1915. 

''James Gregory Mumford, Physician and Surgeon, 
died Oct. 18, 1 9 14, at the Clifton Springs Sanitarium, 
where he resided as surgeon-in-chief. Although for some 
years an invalid, his death came suddenly at the last, 
and as a surprise and shock to his many friends, and to 
his fellow-members of this Board with whom he had 
served for nearly two years. In that brief period, how- 
ever, he had won the hearts and the admiration of his 
co-trustees, and especially of those on the Executive Com- 
mittee, of which he was a member, who had the rare 
privilege so man}^ times of having him present at their 
meetings. 

"There was a charm about the man which it is impos- 
sible to describe. His quaint humor, which never 
deserted him even in his feeble health and in his mtany 
hours of pain ; his catholicity of view ; his vast store of 
knowledge, both of men and of things, kept ever ready 
by a retentive memory and a well-ordered mind; his 
varied experience of life unusual in one of his years, — 
all these made him a companion to be enjoyed, a friend 
whose friendship was worth while, and an adviser whose 
counsels were safe to follow. 

"Dr. Mumford had the gift of initiative in a rare 
degree, made valuable by his own observation and wide 
experience. Tolerant of the views of others, however, 
he never pressed his own, except to state them clearly 
and give the reasons for his belief." 



UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA 



3 0112 110189450